My first experience with 1967 Volkswagens was as a kid in the early ‘70s. My Dad got a Navy-colored Sunroof ‘67 Beetle from a friend. It had been rolled down a mountain, but it still ran and drove, even though every panel on it was in ruin.
Dad then picked up a Sunroof ‘64 that had experienced an engine fire. His plan was to swap the ‘67 motor into the ‘64, but he never got around to it. Me and my siblings played in those cars for years until some neighborhood teenager bought them for parts. My 1967 VW brings back many fond memories—I still remember that cool wooden Formula Vee shift knob Dad’s Bug had.
I had been looking for an older Bug for a while when this one came up for sale about 75 miles away. Rust-free Bugs are hard to come by on the East Coast but supposedly this was a West Coast car. The original Owner’s Manual showed service stamps from VW dealers in CA and OR, and there was a CA college parking sticker on the rear window, which helped to confirm her origin.
She was super solid underneath, and although shabby, she did run, drove well, and was fairly complete. The previous owner (PO) had just replaced the transaxle with one out of a ‘67 Ghia, and mentioned that the clutch was sloppy and needed adjustment. When I got it home it turned out the real problem was the clutch cable tube which had broken free inside of the tunnel at all three welds. But with a bit of careful welding and fabrication of new mounts, I was able to fix it, and she now shifts as good as new. I asked the PO to include the original transaxle in the sale. I now suspect that nothing was wrong with it as the clutch cable tube may have been the root of the problem Maybe one day I’ll get it back in.
The engine ran “ok” when I bought it, and the heads under the valve covers were very clean (which indicated a low mileage motor), but she really lacked power. I found that her distributor was allowing only 12 degrees of maximum advance, so I swapped it for a new one with electronic ignition that gave 25 degrees advance, all before 2700 rpm. I also found that the throttle cable was allowing only 2/3 of the required travel, so that was adjusted too. The carb jetting also was very lean, especially for having a header, so I rejetted the carb with fatter jets, performed a complete tune up and adjusted the valves.